Reasons for Designation
In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements
dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non-
defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone
construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also
common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures
were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common.
Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the
settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the
enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard
layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of
the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were
pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two
houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the
settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main
enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be
found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form
and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known.
These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives
throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement
forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common
throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved
earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common,
although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography.
All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be
identified as nationally important.
Despite the absence of upstanding earthwork features, Petteril Green Romano-
British farmstead has been identified by aerial photographs and confirmed by
limited excavation. Additionally, an associated field system and two trackways
are clearly visible on the aerial photographs. Such field systems provide
important evidence of a carefully planned reorganisation of landscape and
definiton of landholding. Their articulation with other contemporary
archaeological features such as land boundaries, settlements, farmsteads and
enclosures, makes them worthy of protection. The monument will also facilitate
any further study of Romano-British settlement patterns in the area.
The monument is a Romano-British farmstead with an adjacent field system,
and two trackways. It is located on the north west slope of Thiefside
Hill, a short distance west of the main Roman road which linked the Roman
forts at Old Penrith (known to the Romans as Voreda) and Carlisle (known
to the Romans as Luguvalium). The site has been identified from cropmarks
visible on aerial photographs which clearly show infilled ditches and
buried banks and walls of a sub-rectangular Romano-British farmstead
approached from the north west by a trackway which enters the farmstead
by a gateway. Also visible on the aerial photographs to the south and
east of the farmstead are field boundaries, an enclosure and a trackway.
The Romano-British farmstead measures approximately 108m by 92m
internally and is entered by a single gateway on the north west side.
Limited excavation during the early 1930's found the farmstead's
defences to consist of a rampart 8.5m wide having a clay core faced
internally and externally with stone retaining walls. The external
retaining wall was found to survive up to 0.45m high and 0.6m wide
and comprised three courses of boulders, the lower course of which
had been laid in a shallow trench and embedded in clay. The internal
retaining wall was found to be much lighter and less well constructed.
At the farmstead's gateway a paved causeway 5.8m wide was located.
From this gateway a road can be seen on the aerial photograph running
north west for approximately 130m. The spatially associated field
system includes an enclosure approximately 50m square located adjacent
to the farmstead's south eastern corner, and a number of linear
features visible in aerial photographs - some terminating against the
farmstead's southern outer wall - which are interpreted as contemporary
or later field boundaries. A trackway runs in a north easterly
direction from the northern corner of the square enclosure and can be
traced in the aerial photographs for approximately 80m.
From the construction techniques employed at the farmstead the excavator
concluded it probably dated to the late first century AD.
All modern field boundaries, gateposts and telegraph poles are excluded
from the scheduling although the ground beneath all these features is
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.